Magic Porthole Coral Reef Preview Offers Videos, Games, Resources


Horizon International has created a way for young people to experience coral reefs through new and emerging media with the Magic Porthole™ experience.


Entry to the Magic Porthole Experience Preview


Horizon International has created a way for young people to experience coral reefs through new and emerging media with the Magic Porthole™ experience. The Magic Porthole preview at takes visitors into the fascinating world of coral reefs with videos, photographs, reef creatures who will be guides, games to enjoy while making discoveries about the lives of boxing crabs, moray eels, sharks, and many other creatures who are part of the fascinating and fragile life in coral reefs.


This Preview of the whole Magic Porthole experience, which is to come, offers samples of some of the features under development and invites participation with games, contests, ideas, and news.   


Visitors to the Magic Porthole Web site will already find a “Magic Porthole Coral Reef Memory” game with 52 photographic cards of coral reef creatures and exciting details of their lives.   These “Magic Porthole™ Ecoknowledge Cards” with photographs by Jan C. Post and design by Sasha Meret will be made available next month in printed versions and will be collectible.  


Magic Porthole invites news about what people are doing to help protect and preserve reefs that will be featured along with visuals they provide.  Special Environment Achievement contests soon to be underway will include a first prize trip to coral reefs donated by Captain Tim Taylor, of Research Vessel Tiburon Inc.and founder of Ocean Outreach Inc. a non-profit ocean education and outreach organization. The winner and their family will live on board the RV Tiberon, a 63 foot research vessel, from which they can explore coral reefs.  


The initial target audience for Magic Porthole was ages 8-12, however in numerous meetings with collaborating institutions including the American Museum of Natural History, Museum of Science, Boston, the Smithsonian Institution, and many others at a variety of institutions, the participants suggested that Magic Porthole will attract from 6 to l6. For example, Dan Noren of the Museum of Science, Boston, wrote: “We can foresee that while Magic Porthole is designed as an informal science learning experience, it will attract parents and teachers to include it with formal studies.”


Magic Porthole has thus far been made possible by a Planning Grant from The National Science Foundation, Peter and Helen Haje, and substantial contributions of talent and services.


Corals and coral reefs have always spoken to the imagination. Some think of corals as a blood red necklace made of pieces collected from dark depths by divers. Others think of waves breaking on the reef of a tropical island. Between the splendor of a miniature tree of blood coral and the robust structures that withstand the impact of ocean waves and undercurrents there is a world of difference. What they have in common is that both have been formed by small animals.

No animal species has even come close to erecting buildings as immense as the structures made by the tiny coral animals. The Australian Great Barrier Reef, constructed by coral is the largest structure ever made by living organisms, 2000 kilometers long, about 140 kilometers wide, 120 meters high, visible from the moon.

Coral reefs are home to an estimated 25 % of all marine species. Fish that are a part of people’s everyday diet are being lost irretrievably.  The threat to ocean life is greater than even the most dedicated scientist realized until a few months ago when a in the November 3, 2006 issue of the journal “Science” and press release from the National Science Foundation, reported  “…an international group of ecologists and economists show that the loss of biodiversity is profoundly reducing the ocean’s ability to produce seafood, resist diseases, filter pollutants, and rebound from stresses such as over fishing and climate change. The study reveals that every species lost causes a faster unraveling of the overall ecosystem. Conversely every species recovered adds significantly to overall productivity and stability of the ecosystem and its ability to withstand stresses….” 


How many humans depend on the oceans and coral reefs?  “Nearly 500 million people depend on coral reefs for tourism income and coastal protection, and about 30 million of those rely on coral reefs for their food,”  according to a 2004 report on the status of coral reefs worldwide commissioned by the Australian government.


The Magic Porthole Advisory Board is composed of Walter H. Adey, Ph.D., Director, Marine Systems Laboratory, Smithsonian Institution; Gordon Cragg, Ph.D., former Chief, Natural Products Branch, National Cancer Institute; Sylvia A. Earle, Ph.D., founder of Deep Ocean Engineering; David Ellis, Ph.D., former Director, Boston Museum of Science; William Fenical, Ph.D., Director, Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Carl-Gustaf Lundin, Head, IUCN Global Marine Programme; Peter R. Haje, former General Counsel and Executive Vice President Time-Warner; Gus Speth, Dean, Yale Forestry and Environmental Studies. Numerous youth are serving as advisors.



Janine Selendy, Chairman and President,

Horizon International

Yale University

Cell: 914.329.1323  or  Home phone 914-276-3155



Principal Magic Porthole Credits:


Executive Producer: Janine Selendy, Chairman and President, Horizon International, Yale University, Magic Porthole Principal Investigator.


Photos and content:  Jan C. Post, Magic Porthole Co-Principal Investigator and Content Director


Video clips: Horizon International, filmed by Nick Caloyianis on digital beta in Bonaire and video filmed in many regions of the world by Jan C. Post.


Artistic renderings and designs by Sasha Meret.


The five reef creature chosen and designed with input from Professor Linda Jarvin, Ph.D. Deputy Director, Center for the Psychology of Abilities, Competencies and Expertise (PACE) Tufts U.


Notes Regarding Collaborators:

Horizon will work with collaborators to incorporate Magic Porthole into their programs and to establish new ones based on Magic Porthole including: aquariums, natural history museums, coral reef and marine conservation organizations, science centers, libraries and community technology centers, ISE initiatives, gaming organizations, Websites, youth organizations, youth Websites, youth environment marketing firms, socially responsible businesses, and commercial partners. And, Horizon Solutions Sites will provide links to Magic Porthole and present initiatives brought to the attention of Magic Porthole.

Examples of partners are: American Museum of Natural History, National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology; Environmental Defense, Oceans Alive; The Field Museum (Chicago); Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS); National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service; National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution; National Science Teachers Association; Monterey Bay Aquarium; NRDC; Museum of Science (Boston); Smithsonian Institution; Marian Koshland Science Museum, National Academy of Sciences; National Aquarium (Baltimore); World Wildlife Fund.

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